Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the C programming language and a key developer of the Unix operating system, has died. Ritchie was a pioneer of modern computing as we know it.

C is the world’s second most popular language (Java is at the top slot). In addition to his work on UNIX and the C language, Ritchie has also contributed to the Plan 9 operating system (generally released in 1995) and also to the Inferno operating system (announced in April 1996). His last contributions to the UNIX system include a Stream input-output mechanism for connecting networks, terminals, and processes in a unified way.

Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007. He had joined the Bell Labs Computer Systems Research department in 1967. Ritchie was the recipient of the Turing Award, Hamming and Pioneer medals, the US Medal of Technology, the U Penn Harold Pender Award and the Japan Prize.  (All of these were shared with Ken Thompson, co-inventor of UNIX and the C programming language and long-time friend of Ritchie).

The news of his passing was posted on Google+ by Google engineer Rob Pike, a former colleague of Ritchie from Bell Labs.

Jeong Kim, President, Bell Labs, said in a condolence message that Ritchie was one of the most respected researchers from Bell Labs, and that he continued to be closely associated with the company as a consultant after his retirement.

Rest in peace, Ritchie.